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Electronic health records can make or break a disability claim

In a recent post, we discussed some of the medical record details that could prove persuasive to a Social Security disability examiner. Although legal requirements and evidence might be the last thing on a patient’s mind, a proactive approach to thorough documentation might make the difference in a winning claim.

Today’s article explores how the shift to electronic health records may require patients to play a more active role in describing their symptoms to their doctor and ensuring those accounts are documented in treatment records. 

The number of hospitals using digital records has grown from 10 to 70 percent in the last five years. However, recent studies suggest that the new approach has not allowed doctors to focus more on their patients, as might have been expected. In fact, a recent study indicates that many doctors are finding the demands of electronic record keeping to be ceaseless.

It seems that electronic health records may impose even more clerical work than traditional record keeping. One study estimates that clerical and computer work might drain two-thirds of the average primary care physician’s daily hours. As a result, doctors may find themselves spending most of their day tending to administrative tasks, instead of patients.

A Social Security disability insurance benefits attorney knows the importance of providing complete medical records to SSA disability examiners. Disabled workers may make the mistake of assuming that SSA officials will obtain those records. In reality, a claim for SSDI benefits could be found ineligible for the very reason of insufficient evidence.

Without the strategic advice of an attorney, however, disabled workers may underestimate the process of seeking to qualify for Social Security disability, which can be difficult. The legal requirements extend far beyond the medical diagnosis. An attorney can advise patients on how to ensure that their treatment records document all of their symptoms, including functional limitations

Source: The New York Times, “A Busy Doctor’s Right Hand, Ever Ready to Type,” Katie Hafner, Jan. 12, 2014

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